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A palliative care doctor’s moving words
09 January 2015

A palliative care doctor’s moving words

Dr Juliana spent six months with us on her Advanced Specialist Track rotation, and read this heart-warming farewell speech out during our Monday town hall meeting.

by Dr Juliana Oei

This tribute is for all the patients who have taught me so much about life during my rotation at HCA.

When I was moved by our patients’ generosity – the delicious prawn noodles made for us, and the cheesecake specially bought. For saving us with a ride from Dunearn where we were stuck for an hour.

When we felt that things were impossible for them, their loved ones proved us wrong, their dedication and love pouring out before us, even in the form of beloved cats who become bodyguards in the face of crises.

When family conferences don’t go as planned, but turned out fine in the end, and when we arrived just in time to send a patient off during his last breath. When we were honoured to witness the marriage vows of our patient’s daughter, even as she battled through countless times of CDP.

When for the very first time, I smile at the thought of a dog – one who has helped me take the first step to overcoming my dog phobia.

Bed bugs, I now know you as Cimex.

When I learned the true meaning of dignity, in a patient who gave us more than she had: a can drink, while she herself drank dirty water.

When I had the first opportunity in my life to give statement to the police.

When I witness beautiful, sacrificial love, in a patient who willingly tried potentially harmful TCM for the sake of his wife, and between our patients and their spouses.

When I learned never to belittle how much we are watched – because of a patient’s 3-year-old grandniece who now aspires to be like Nurse Sock Cheng and I, and of a patient’s mother who quietly noticed how much shouting we endured.

When I learned humility in the true sense of just being, with our patient and her family. She was in existential distress at her decline, and I no longer had anything in my medical bag to offer her.

When I learned how much we take even our own breath for granted.

Thank you.

Have words of encouragement for Dr Juliana, or any of our other clinical staff? Tell us at communications@hcahospicecare.org.sg, or post a message on our Facebook Timeline, and we’ll let them know!